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Sunday, June 07, 2009
Alan Milstein on Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Nomination

After Ohio State star running back Maurice Clarett won a sweeping victory before U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in his 2004 case challenging the NFL's age eligiblity rule, the NFL appealed Judge Scheindlin's ruling and a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard the oral arguments. Judge Sonia Sotomayor, whom President Obama has nominated to the Supreme Court, was one of the three judges and she wrote the opinion in favor of the NFL. The opinion excluded Clarett and similarly situated players from the 2004 draft.

Alan Milstein, who has litigated on behalf of a number of star athletes, argued the case for Clarett before Judge Scheindlin and later before the three judge panel (I was on Clarett's legal team and aided Alan).

Alan was interviewed by Larry Neumeister of the Associated Press about his thoughts on Judge Sotomayor's nomination by President Obama.

Here is an excerpt from Neumeister's story:
Alan Milstein, who represented former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett in his effort to enter the National Football League draft as a 19-year-old, remembered "very tough, very tough" questioning by Sotomayer. The appeals court overturned a lower-court judge who was going to let Clarett be drafted.

"It was obvious to me that she and the other panel members had made up their minds about this issue without looking at the briefs or even hearing the arguments," Milstein said. "I don't think she wanted to hear anything I had to say."

Milstein described the appeals court's decision as a heartbreaking denial of opportunity for his client to escape the poor, gang-infested community where he grew up. Still, Milstein said he believes Sotomayor "will make a great justice."

For the rest, click here. For other sports law opinions by Judge Sotomayer, see Geoff's recent post. And for a bit of sports law history, if you would like to read Alan's emergency application to the U.S. Supreme Court for lift of the Second Circuit's stay in the NFL's favor, click here.


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